KOKOMO, Ind. — Ivy Tech Community College officially acquired the Kokomo Event Center on Tuesday evening after the Howard County Council ratified the County Commissioners’ decision to transfer the property to Ivy Tech. The college received the event center at no cost from the county in a move that is viewed by many in local government as an investment in the future of Kokomo and Howard County.
“Education is a critical element in economic development,” says Paul Wyman, vice president of the Howard County Board of Commissioners. “This investment in Ivy Tech continues our positive momentum to make Kokomo and Howard County an economic leader in the region.”
Tyler Moore, president of the Howard County Board of Commissioners, says the agreement is good for both the college and the community.
“This is a great opportunity to help Ivy Tech expand in our community, and, at the same time, continue to secure a location for our community to host events as well as our wonderful automobile museum,” says Moore.
The official vote on Tuesday evening to transfer ownership followed a preliminary vote in favor of the transfer by the Howard County Board of Commissioners on May 2. The agreement calls for the event center and the Automotive Heritage Museum to stay in the building for at least the next four years. Ivy Tech will hold classes at the event center beginning this fall.
“The addition of the Kokomo Event Center will be a tremendous benefit to the college,” says Ivy Tech Kokomo Region Chancellor Steve Daily. “Among other advantages, it will provide us with much-needed classroom and computer lab space, offer more suitable space for our Department of Workforce and Economic Development training center, and improve the college’s visibility on US 31.”
The acquisition of the Kokomo Event Center also will benefit the college in a number of other ways, including providing a centrally located, affordable facility for the college’s many statewide meetings, conferences and events; offering space for a kitchen that can be used for catering as well as for a culinary arts lab, which could open up opportunities for new programs; and making available the necessary space and location to ensure growth both now and in the future. Eventually, the property is expected to give the college west access to its current main campus, making it the front door to the campus and perhaps serving as the ideal building site for future Ivy Tech construction.
The college is considered to be well-suited for management of the facility because of its equipment and staff experienced in the set up and maintenance of public use facilities, its information technology and technical support experts, and because of its full-time marketing staff that is available to assist in the promotion of the facility. The transfer of ownership relieves the county of all costs relevant to the event center, including salaries and benefits for two full-time employees, liability, utilities, and maintenance.
The president of the Howard County Council, Dick Miller, says the agreement between the county and the college will benefit all involved.
“Howard County has made a giant step forward in providing the opportunity for continuing education for all of its citizens,” says Councilman Miller. “The transfer of this property will definitely ensure the expansion of Ivy Tech in our region. Greater enrollment and enhanced curriculum selection will be the direct result of this gift.”